Git Yer Gather On

Posted in Feature on September 25, 2004

By John Carter

Send your rules questions to Magic Rules Manager John Carter. Can't find the answer to your question somewhere else? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Here we are again, hot off the heels of the Champions of Kamigawa prereleases. We're going to take a trip down to Portland, Oregon for questions off the prerelease floor. After that, it's time for more CHK mailbag action. Then we're back to business as usual. But first, there's big news about Oracle, the card database.

The Big O

All the cards of Magic have official wordings. When a dispute arises about how a card is written, the Oracle Card Database provides the final answer. No matter what copy of a card you play, the text is always treated like the wording as it appears in the Oracle. Thus, an stone rain reads, “Destroys any one land.” However, any copy of Stone Rain will be played using the Oracle wording, “Destroy target land.”

Thursday morning Wizards of the Coast launched Gatherer—the official and searchable MtG card database. If you've always wondered where a particular card came from, look it up in Gatherer and click on the set symbols to see each picture.

So how does Gatherer affect Oracle? Oracle is contained within Gatherer. The Standard and All copies of Oracle will still be made available as independent downloads, but any more unique Oracle list (such as Extended or Ice Age Block) will be available only through Gatherer. If you need a copy of a particular Oracle rendering, set your selections, and make sure the output is “Oracle spoiler view”. From there, just copy and paste into your word processor of choice.

Champions is a Trip

Portland players, like players the world over, got their first taste of Kamigawa last weekend. Many people commented on the literally more colorful world-- getting back into playing colored spells feels almost weird after a year on the artifact world of Mirrodin. Here are the types of things that came up at the prerelease.

Q: Can I splice the same card onto an arcane spell multiple times?

A: No. All splices are revealed at the same time (much like revealing for amplify), and all costs get added together and paid at once (like kicker / buyback).

Nezumi Graverobber
Q: Does Nezumi Graverobber flip the turn it comes into play if my opponent has no cards in his or her graveyard?

A: No. The “heroes” (aka flip cards) all have activated or triggered abilities. Nezumi Graverobber can't even be activated until there is a “target card in an opponent's graveyard” (because it's a targeted ability). When the ability resolves, the last part of Nezumi's activated ability checks for a condition and flips if the condition is met.

*Extra* If the card is removed by another effect, when the Graverobber's ability tries to resolve it is countered for lack of target (no removal = no flipping). If there are other cards in the graveyard in addition to the targeted one, the targeted one will be removed, but the flip condition won't be met.

Q: If I pump a flip card, and then it flips, is it still pumped?

A: Yes. Flipping a hero just changes which part of the text applies for that permanent. Other effects, enchantments, and equipment all stay the same.

Q: Does flipping a card during combat remove it from combat?

A: No. Much like turning a morph card face-up, the flip card is still attacking or blocking.

Q: I have an Eiganjo Castle then my opponent played one. Can I use mine in response?

A: No. Playing a land and state-based effects do not use the stack. Thus, by the time anyone could do anything (even for mana) both Eiganjo Castles are in your graveyards.

Q: I had a Floating-Dream Zubera and an Ashen-Skin Zubera block a Sosuke, Son of Seshiro. They both died, so I had my opponent discard two, and I drew two. He said I was wrong. What's wrong?

A: The Zuberas didn't die at the same time. Sosuke is a 3/4. Because he's a warrior, he'll trigger his venom ability when he deals combat damage to the Zuberas. However, one Zubera would die from the damage, and the other one dies from the poison. As for which one, it just depends on where he assigns the damage. If he really wanted to, he could assign all three points to one, and the other would live. Otherwise, you have a single-serving effect from the damaged Zubera and a doubled effect from the poisoned one.

Kwestions from All Over

Q: Is splicing a triggered ability activated or static? The feel of it is activated (you activate it from your hand, like cycling? Or is this not activated either?), and the wording feels like triggered ("as you play..."). –Scott

A: Splice is a static ability. You use it by revealing a card from your hand, but it's not activated.

Cycling has a colon in the wording—a dead giveaway for activated abilities. Triggered abilities use “at”, “when”, and “whenever” in their wordings.

Q: What happens if you use Astral Slide (or similar "flicker" cards) on a flipped Legend, such as "Nighteyes the Desecrator"? Does it return to play as Nighteyes or as "Nezumi Graverobber"? –Miles

A: Yes. Removing a flipped hero will return an unflipped creature.

*Extra* Phasing a creature out would return a creature that remembers it's flipped status.

Takeno, Samurai General
Q: With Takeno, Samurai General if you made Chub Toad a samurai would he get huge too? --Frank D.

A: No, because it doesn't have Bushido. Chub Toad might be a prince deep down, and he might get dressed up like a samurai, but he'll need more training before he can master bushido.

*Extra* Perhaps Sensei Golden-Tail could help your Toads.

Q: With Uba Mask and Zur's Weirding out, how do the replacement effects stack? Do you choose? –GenericKen

A: Replacements don't stack. The person drawing will chose what order to apply the Mask and the Weirding. Of course, once one of these is applied, the draw is replaced, and the other no longer applies [419.9a].

Q: Concerning Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker… When the token comes into play, does it come into play as a copy, giving you Eternal Witness and Viridian Shaman triggers?

A: Yes, the copy will trigger just like an original would.

Q: When your Darksteel Colossus token copy is sacrificed at end of turn, do you get to shuffle your library?

A: Let's see… “If Darksteel Colossus would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, reveal Darksteel Colossus and shuffle it into its owner's library instead.” Yep, shuffle away. Please do not shuffle the penny, paperclip, or bead that was your token though.

Q: When does Reweave check the card's type, during the sacrifice or in the graveyard?

A: When Reweave resolves it uses the type(s) that the permanent had right before it was sacrificed.

Q: Can you put The Unspeakable into play from your hand when you play Peer Through Depths, Reach Through Mists, and then Sift Through Sands? --Daniel Alexander

A: You can't put a copy of The Unspeakable into play from your hand with this combo; it only comes from your deck.

Q: Do the spells need to be played in that exact order and do you have to let them resolve before playing the next one? Do the spells have to resolve for the combo to work? --WoRMaSTeR

A: It doesn't matter what order Peer Through Depths or Reach Through Mists was played or if they resolved. To get the combo to go off, you must resolve Sift Through Sands last though. Countering Sift Through Sands will counter the combo effect as well.

Q: If I have a Sosuke, Son of Seshiro and a Mirri, Cat Warrior in play does my Mirri become a killing machine with the warrior ability of Sosuke?

A: Yes. She's a “Legendary Creature — Cat Warrior”.

Q: If not what does Mirri mean with counts as a Cat Warrior? --WaterWind Mage

A: Magic has not always had multiple creature types on the type line. The “counts as” wording was used for some cards that were Legends (now Legendary) as well as another creature type (like Barrin, Master Wizard). By the end of the Urza's Saga Block creatures were being published with multiple creature types directly on the type line (like Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary).

Q: Let's say I cast an Iname, Death Aspect, and put four Kokusho, the Evening Star into my graveyard. I then play Living Death. Those four legendary creatures jump into play, and the Legend Rule puts then all into the graveyard. Am I correct in thinking I just Syphon Souled each of my opponents for twenty life, or am I barking up the wrong tombstone? –M. W.

A: Your opponents will lose twenty life each (in five-point increments). For the record, I've blotted out your first name so your local playgroup doesn't bring baseball bats to their next meeting.

Q: Do the flip cards use the stack when their flip condition is met? (i.e. does the act of flipping the card go on the stack) --Jeff W.

A: No, but their activated abilities will. They can respond to the activation, but once you start resolving the ability, the whole thing (including the flip or not) will resolve before anyone gets priority.

Q: Does Bushido 1 + Bushido 1 = Bushido 2? Please tell me they stack like flanking did... well, at least tell me the right answer first. --Joe

A: They stack (each trigger) like flanking.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Q: If I have Azusa, Lost but Seeking in play and I play my 2 extra lands if I returned Azusa to my hand then replayed the Azusa would I be able to play 2 more lands that turn to play a total of 5 lands? --Peter R.

A: You could play up to 5. Be sure when playing a land to specify if it's your land drop, or if it's Azusa tending the garden.

Q: When Godo, Bandit Warlord untaps a Battle-Mad Ronin, does the Ronin have to attack in the second combat phase? --Martin D.

A: No. He must attack at the first opportunity (regardless of any potential combat phases). Once he's attacked in a turn, then he can sit back and clean off his sword if he wants.

Q: If I play an arcane spell, and splice another card onto it, would a Mirari copy the splice? For example, Blind with Anger is played, Glacial Ray is spliced onto it, and Mirari is used on the Blind, does the Ray effect get copied as well? --Matt

A: Yes. Splice adds the text onto the spell (“copy… onto” [CR502.40a]). Mirari (or Fork, etc.) then copy the spell including the copied values [CR 503.2].

Q: I play a Devouring Rage and sacrifice a Kami of the Hunt, how big is the target creature?

A: The Devouring Rage creature would get +6/+0, but no creature would get fear. While the Kami is a spirit, a spell is not considered “played” until all costs are paid—including the additional “sacrifice any number of spirits” cost [CR 409.1i]. By the time the spell is played, the Kami of the Waning Moon is already in the graveyard, and so its ability doesn't trigger.

Business as Usual

Q: My opponent tries to attack with his Tel-Jilad Chosen, but I have an Ensnaring Bridge and no cards in my hand. He argues that he can attack because the Tel-Jilad Chosen has protection from artifacts. Which one of us is correct? --Curtis Robinson

A: You are. Protection from artifacts doesn't stop Ensnaring Bridge. The Chosen has no choice.

Q: Let's say I cast a Red Ward on my creature and then cast Chaoslace on it to turn it into a red permanent. It would still be safe since the wards specifically say that their granted protections don't destroy themselves. However, what happens if I give the creature a Flickering Ward set to red? --Matt G.

A: A red Red Ward won't remove itself. However, the red Red Ward wouldn't be safe from another Red Ward. When a card refers to itself, it means only that one card, not all copies of that card.

Q: I would like to know whether I could use Circle of Protection: White to prevent damage done to my creature by an untapped Pristine Angel. I think it is possible because it does not say target on the card. My friend thinks not. Who is right? --John T.

A: Your friend is correct but probably not why he thinks he is. CoP: White doesn't say “creature” either. You could, however, protect yourself with the CoP regardless of whether the Pristine Angel is tapped or not.

Q: I have a question about Loxodon Warhammer, if you have two of them equipped on a creature, does that creature gain “Whenever this creature deals damage, you gain that much life.” twice or just once. Is it cumulative? –Ian

A: Twice. And each instance will trigger separately. My favorite is on Exalted Angel. Yum yum yummy.

Q: Would Urza's Armor prevent all the damage from goblin cannon if 20 damage were going to a player from Goblin Cannon? --Jason W.

A: Yes. *ping* You'd hardly even *ping* notice the damage *ping* at all. *ping*

Q: In the rules database I found information regarding the interaction of Force of Will and Defense Grid. Does the same follow for Trinisphere? --Nathanael L.

A: Yes. Trinisphere doesn't care about the mana cost (which the alternate cost in Force of Will pays for). Trinisphere just tacks on mana until everything costs at least three. An alternately played Force of Will would cost [, remove a blue card in your hand from the game, pay 1 life] to play.

Q: What happens when I have a Glorious Anthem and a Mycosynth Lattice in play, and then I play March of the Machines? --Jose G.

A: You'll have a small army of 1/1 artifact creature lands. Chances are your opponent will not. It doesn't matter what order the Anthem and Lattice.

Q: You made a small error that is quite common regarding triggered effects. When a player activates a triggered by using an activated ability (not by resolving the activated ability) his triggered effect will go onto the stack before his opponent's triggered effect regardless of whose turn it is. The reason for this is that the player activating the effect which causes multiple triggers by its activation cannot pass priority without placing the triggered effect upon the stack. His opponent will not have the opportunity to place their effect upon the stack until priority has been passed, and will therefore resolve first.

In your extra example, when the player uses the Ravager's ability to sacrifice the Worker, the Sharpshooter's untap effect and the modular move the +1 counter effect will both trigger upon paying the cost for the announced ability. The Ravager player has not yet passed priority and must place his triggered effect upon the stack. [snip] --Jay P.

A: Triggers always go on the stack in active player, non-active player (APNAP) order. This is regardless of whose turn it is—that just says who the AP is and who the NAP is. It does not matter who has priority either. Here's the actual rule: “410.3. If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, the abilities controlled by the active player go on the stack first, in any order he or she chooses, then those controlled by the opponent go on the stack in any order that opponent chooses…”

I will note that I'm more than happy to correct mistakes if (when?) they happen. Thanks for making sure I stay honest.

Q: Both my opponent and me control a Mindslaver. It is my turn and I activate mine. Then I control his next turn, and I activate his Mindslaver. What happens, who will control my next turn? --Dezso S.

A: Note to self: Mindslaver is Legendary. Ok, so let's pretend that his wasn't in play and he has the mana to play and use the one he's holding… In that case you're ordering him to play it, and you're ordering him to take control of his next turn.

Q: If I play a Rude Awakening, and my lands are creatures, do Forests count as the same name so they will all get the bonus from Echoing Courage? –Peter

A: Yes. Your Forests would be “all other creatures with the same name as that creature”.

Q: If I have a Glimmervoid in play and a Blinkmoth Nexus can I activate the Nexus to save the Glimmervoid at the end of turn --Conner R.

A: Yes. The Nexus stays an artifact creature land until the Cleanup step. Glimmervoid checks to sacrifice at the beginning of your End of Turn step (which is just before the Cleanup).

Q: Can I use Stifle on Goblin Piledriver so that it won't get a boost? –Alex

A: Yes. The Piledriver has protection from blue, but Stifle affects a “target activated or triggered ability”—the ability doesn't have the protection the creature does.

Q: I play a Call to the Grave with a total of six creatures in play. My friend said that if I had no creatures out, then I would have to sacrifice the Call to the Grave. Can you please clarify the ruling? --Rex S.

A: Let's see: “At end of turn, if no creatures are in play, sacrifice Call to the Grave.” So if any creatures are in play at end of turn (say a Zombie… or maybe an animated Blinkmoth Nexus, for instance) you don't sacrifice the Call.

Q: Years ago there was a rule about "fizzling". Now the rules say that if a spell would "fizzle" it is countered. What happens when an uncounterable spell's target disappears and needs to fizzle? --Dan Z.

A: The spell is countered. “Uncounterable” is officially known as “cannot be countered by spells or abilities”. Note that a game rule is neither a spell nor ability. So if you Urza's Rage my creature, and the creature goes away, the game rules counter the Rage for having an invalid target [CR 413.2a].

Q: I was wondering if after drawing three cards with Thirst for Knowledge, could I choose to discard two artifacts (for reanimation purposes)? –Ryan

A: Yes. What your nefarious purposes are, I'll leave up to you.

Q: One of my friends claims that there is a rule against decks that can "go infinite" in any way. However, I suspect that this is just a house rule. Can you enlighten us? –Bo

A: Not quite. There's a rule against infinity [CR Glossary: Infinity Rule], but we do allow ridiculously large numbers. Goblin Bombardment + Enduring Renewal + Ornithopter = arbitrary large number of points of damage (a billion, for instance).

Q: While I was playing the free version of MTGO I noticed something weird. I could block with Fleeting Image, have him deal combat damage, and even though he would be dealt lethal damage, the program would still allow me to bounce him back to my hand. This seems counter-intuitive to me, I thought once he was dealt lethal damage, he would be but into the graveyard. --Mark M.

A: He would be if damage had resolved. You were bouncing him after he assigned damage [CR 310.1] but before damage was actually dealt [CR 310.4].

Q: If a player had both Doubtless One and True Believer, would they still gain the life from Doubtless One when it deals combat damage? –Patrick

A: Yes. Doubtless One's triggered ability doesn't target. (The same thing goes for that double Loxodon Warhammered Exalted Angel from earlier.)

Q: I am a self-taught Magic player. I have been very confused about something for a very long time. Do artifacts have summoning sickness? --Patrick McK.

A: Creatures have summoning sickness whether they're artifacts or not. (Artifacts: no. Artifact creatures: yes.)

Test of Faith
Q: My 1/1 bumps into a 6/6. I cast Darksteels' Test of Faith on my 1/1. Will it live? –Marius

A: Yes. “Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn, and put a +1/+1 counter on that creature for each 1 damage prevented this way.” So we have a 1/1 that gets three damage prevented, and as a part of preventing that damage, it also gets 3 +1/+1 counters. Thus we wind up with a 4/4 that has three damage dealt to it.

Q: If I have Endless Whispers in play, and my opponent successfully plays Tooth and Nail and puts two of Yosei, the Morning Star into play, is the game automatically a draw, assuming the dragons or enchantment can't be removed since the creatures endlessly die and reappear? –Keldeagh

A: No, the game isn't a draw. The Legendary dragon spirits would return to play and then be put into the graveyard each turn (causing multiple instances of players not being able to untap), but the creatures return only at end of turn.

Q: When a card is played without paying its mana cost via Spellbinder, what is done in regards to kicker costs and/or entwine costs? --John B.

A: The mana cost is paid, but entwine, kicker, buyback, and hey, even splice can still get tacked on when you play the spell [CR 409.1b]. You do still have to pay the extra costs when it comes time to pay for the spell [CR 409.1f-h].

Q: I was wondering how much would it cost to cast Lava Spike and splicing two Glacial Rays onto it while having a Ruby Medallion out. Does it cost or ? –Vincent

A: . Take your mana cost plus additions and minus reductions to figure out the total [CR 409.1f]. Take the cost and add the splices: + + = … Then take off the Ruby rebate: = .

Q: I have this Dirtcowl Wurm that is from Tempest, but get this... It has a symbol (the lightning cloud) in gold. Now I know from experience that Tempest isn't gold. Another thing, the boarder of the card is white... I need to know what this Dirtcowl Wurm is! --Kacey C.

A: Your Dirtcowl Wurm is from the Battle Royale set.

Q: Is Skullclamp banned or restricted in Standard? –Keith

A: Skullclamp has been banned in Standard as of June 20th, 2004. Standard (Type 2) does not use a restricted list—the only sanctioned format that uses a restricted list is Vintage.

Q: When Cranial Extraction asks you to name a card, do you have to make sure you say the entire name? Is it okay for "Boseiju" to stand in for "Boseiju, Who Shelters All"? --Martin D.

A: As long as you can uniquely identify the card, mutually acceptable shortcuts are allowed. Something like “Akroma” isn't unique enough (Angel, Blessing, or Vengeance?)—“Akroma the Angel” would be fine. "Boseiju" could work if Cranial Extraction didn't specify "nonland card".

*Extra* For split cards, you'll need to name both halves or make it otherwise clear which card you mean “Um... Fire // and that blue half that taps stuff…” When naming a flip card, name the unflipped name for Cranial Extraction.

I hope everyone enjoys his or her shiny new Champions of Kamigawa. If you didn't make it to a prerelease, the set goes on sale October 1st. For you online fanatics, CHK hits MTGO on October 25th.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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